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Take a Bow

Many cultural traditions incorporate the gesture of a bow as a sign of respect. At a meditation course last year, our instructor described the significance of the bow in a way that I had never heard before. It struck me as brilliant and profound. To bow is to make an agreement to see the other person in a new way.

When performing a bow, you first look directly at the other person and make eye contact. You pause, then slowly bend forward at the hip, lowering your head and eyes to the ground. When you rise back up to reestablish eye contact, it is to say, “I now see you with fresh eyes.”

When two people do this together, they make an agreement to be fully present with each other in this moment and this moment alone. All prior encounters, constructs, stories, roles, and expectations are removed. This frees the new moment and the people in it from being defined by the past. It says: “No matter what has happened between us, no matter what stories I have created about you, no matter who and how we have been, we start here, now.”

This cultivates an environment of curiosity and attention, cooperation and appreciation.

It feels good to be allowed space to change, to be different than how you used to be. It feels good to allow another that same kind of space. It feels good to let drama slip off. It is exciting to think about just who that person might be, of the mystery and brilliance they hold beneath the surface.

We never know who that other person really is. They might not yet, either.

We hardly know ourselves.

Souls come in interesting disguises.

Since we are all here in this process of discovery together, let’s work to hold space for each other in a way that supports and facilitates change. If we hold someone in a fixed idea or narrative of who we think they are, we are not allowing them a fluid opportunity to change. And if they do change, we will fail to notice it, locked in the rigidity of our concepts. Even if someone appears to remain ‘stuck’ or rigid in themselves, it is still worth the effort to continue to see them as new, over and over again. It only takes a moment for that flash within to go off and open things up forever.

And who are we to say that it has not already happened? Who are we to judge?

Humility is the ultimate truth.

Souls come in interesting disguises.

In addition to extending this courtesy to others, I invite you to also practice it with yourself. Every day, bow to yourself. When you come up, let all the resistance fall off. Discard the fiction:

“This is just how I am”

“That is just how it is”

“It runs in my family”

“I know how this will end up”

“It always happens like this for me”

“I know what I am doing”

“I don’t need anyone’s help”

“I’ve always done it this way”

“I’m trapped, there’s nothing I can do”

“Life isn’t fair”

“I’ll be alone forever”

“It will never change”

“I can’t wait until….”

“It is impossible”

Look yourself in the eyes and realize that you have no idea who you are. Begin to wonder who is in there. Begin to feel, to notice. Keep noticing.

Instead of wanting, begin to wonder. Instead of trying to make your life be this way or the other, explore and discover yourself and your path. Open yourself to it. It is there.

Just because you haven’t experienced something before doesn’t mean it's not real.

Once you agree to see yourself in a new way, all sorts of things can happen.

Souls come in interesting disguises.

As your healing practitioner, I promise to always bow to you in my mind. I promise to see you with fresh eyes each session.

I trust you. I trust your innate vitality, wisdom, connection to life, and capacity to heal.

I vow to do everything in my power to remove any blocks standing in your way so that you might be free to be the fullest, most magnificent expression of yourself. I am invested in who you are.

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